Andrew Ingram

Andrew Ingram

President's Scholar

College of Science
Chemistry

 

Why did you choose your major?

I think I started loving chemistry because of my first high school chemistry class where our teacher, Leslie Warkentin, fired a marshmallow out of a canon.  The rest of that year was filled with various types of explosions and fires, but I was hooked from the start.  I bet most chemists start out as mild pyromaniacs like that.

In terms of college, I stayed in chemistry not because of the ways you can explosively tear molecules apart, but more for the joy of designing and assembling novel molecules and compounds that can accomplish new and greater things.  Being able to make some chemical that no one else has ever seen before is just plain cool; not to mention any particular use or chemical transformation that this new compound unlocks.

 

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

This award matters much less to me than it does to my stupendously supportive family (every single one of them, including my girlfriend and her family).  I think it serves as a pretty good excuse to get everyone together and celebrate life.   For me, it means less for its material presence and more for what it represents: a consistent effort, dedication, and investment in learning that has allowed me to internalize much of my education.

Speaking of my family, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents for their consistent loving support, my brother for being a constant source of fantastic conversation and debate, my girlfriend (Cady) for patiently listening and attempting to follow along with the constant flow of unintelligible science, and the rest of my family (including Cady's) for always displaying an active and supporting interest in my life.

 

Who has been instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic success?

There is far too little space to even list the many people that have greatly affected my life, including family, friends, professors, and lecturers; however, my research advisor, Dr. Gilles Muller, has had the most influence on my academic pursuits.  Without his guidance, support, and challenging projects there is no way that I would be where I am today.  He was the first person to tell me that I could get a PhD if I so desired, and after four years of working in his lab, I have been accepted into graduate programs at Stanford, MIT, Caltech, UC Berkeley, and Yale.

Additionally, every single member of the SJSU Chemistry faculty I have interacted with is a wonderful and supportive teacher.  The raw passion they have for education and their topics is inspiring and speaks to the absolute excellence of our department.


What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

Don't just talk about wanting to do something without ever acting on; get out there, talk to your professors, and do it.  Find the programs to make the absolute most of your time at SJSU and take advantage of how close you can get to your professors.  Look for opportunities outside SJSU to expand your horizons and bridge your university life to your career.


Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

In 5-10 years I should have my PhD in chemistry and either be taking part in post-doctoral research, or starting my career.  I might be an assistant professor at some University or working in an industry or government lab.  Most likely I will be working on the development of some base science to support technology for a sustainable society.


A few words from his nominating professor:

"He is arguably our best chemistry student, and certainly one of the top 10 students in the past decade.  He has performed research for Prof. Gilles Muller for the past two years, and has already achieved getting his name on publications.  He had an internship in a university lab in Germany over the past summer, and represented us as a Salzburg Scholar as well.  In my quantum chemistry and spectroscopy course last year, he was perhaps the best student that I have ever had in 25 years at SJSU, and the only one to ever achieve an A+ in that (inherently difficult) course (Chem 161B).  He has been active in our Chemistry Club, and has also served the community as a science fair judge at local schools.  He has been accepted to every Ph.D. program that he has applied to, including Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech and Berkeley.  I believe that Andrew is going on to become a superstar in his area of interest: physical inorganic chemistry."
-Dr. Brad Stone